By Jennifer Browning
Yesterday morning as Ann McNeil was on her way to visit the hydrocephalus children, a lady was waiting outside the recovery room with her two month old infant. Her child, Sammie Bernier, had spina bifida, a condition that in the United States is normally fixed immediately after birth. Spina bifida has caused a lump to form on the lower end of Sammie’s back. The lump contains spinal fluid, which has redirected a portion of the spinal cord to grow outside of the body.
While scheduling is tight to operate on the hydrocephalus children, the doctors were able to squeeze Sammie into the operating room schedule. The operation was successful, and the bump with the spinal fluid was reduced.
Carolyn Domina brings Sammie Bernier back to her mother who was waiting in the recovery ward. At fourteen days old, Sammie went through surgery to treat her spina bifida. After her surgery, the infant was already showing signs of spinal fluid shifting which meant the baby would develop Hydrocephalus. The next day Sammie underwent another surgery where a shunt was placed in order to treat her hydrocephalus.Photos by Jennifer Browning.
Later in the morning Carol Stufflebean came in with 13-year-old Evan cuddling next to her. Small and frail, Evan gazed and smiled at most who passed by him, and beamed at Carol affectionately. Looking at him sitting in Carol’s lap, it was hard to believe the boy was 13.
A trained nurse, Carol used to help Project Medishare coordinate surgical trips in Haiti. Currently, she is a director of a clinic in Fondparien, a village located outside Port-au-Prince. She brought Evan to Hopital Universitaire de la Paix to hopefully get a proper diagnosis from Dr. John Rahgeb in order to help the process of Evan’s medical visa.
When Evan was born, he was abandoned at General Hospital in Port-au-Prince. He was then sent to Notré Maison, a local orphanage. For reasons unknown, Evan was eventually brought to Mustard Seed Orphanage where Carol worked. When Mustard Seed closed down, he was transferred to Children for the Center of Jesus, an orphanage run by Food for the Poor. Carol stays in contact with Evan, who not only has medical issues but also has developmental delays. She is trying to get Evan approved for a medical visa so that he may travel to the United States to receive surgery to correct his club feet. The medical visa requires submission of a diagnosis from a trained physician.
Dr. Ragheb not only diagnosed Evan with club feet but with cerebral palsy as well. Carol hopes that the diagnosis will help get Evan the necessary medical visa, which will help him get his operation.